Medicaid discussion has officials in rural counties concerned - WECT TV6-WECT.com:News, weather & sports Wilmington, NC

Medicaid discussion has officials in rural counties concerned

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Governor Pat McCrory's plan is to privatize the state's Medicaid system to hold down the rising cost of health care. Governor Pat McCrory's plan is to privatize the state's Medicaid system to hold down the rising cost of health care.

COLUMBUS COUNTY, NC (WECT) - Governor Pat McCrory's plan is to privatize the state's Medicaid system to hold down the rising cost of health care.

His idea is to have three or four managed care companies compete to deliver the medical care, but some medical officials in rural counties are concerned with where that will leave many of their patients. 

Since most rural counties have fewer jobs than other counties, people there are more likely not to have health insurance and more likely to be poor.

Officials at Columbus Regional Healthcare System say that at least 20 percent of their patients are on Medicaid, which is why many people there were concerned when state lawmakers did not expand Medicaid. 

Hospital officials in Columbus County say that no matter what's decided in Raleigh, their facility will be one of the first to feel the impact.  

"I feel like I'm looking at a pool of water, and it's very cloudy," said Carl Biber, Chief Financial Officer at Columbus Regional Healthcare System. "And I'm not quite sure how deep that pool of water is. Is it just a couple of inches deep, or is it 20 or 30 feet deep? That's probably challenging more than anything. We don't have any clarity, and we're not quite sure how to react. That's honestly the biggest challenge right now."

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